Farid Khan Orakzai’s victory as a Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa MPA on May 11 was both incredible and shortlived. His win as an independent in the election had started with his filing his nomination papers with only Rs 100 in his pocket, and like other independents, he had joined the leading party, in this case the Tehrik-i-Insaaf. Assassinated on Monday only after being sworn in and taking part in the Speaker’s and Chief Minister’s elections, he had not enough time to make any contribution to the work of the Assembly. The assassination, in which his driver was also killed and his brother injured provoked demonstrations against the administration in Hangu, where his supporters blocked roads, burnt tyres and set several shops on fire. The administration responded by declaring a curfew. The assassination came after a fire in a JUI-F office. The JUI-F candidate, and sitting MPA Atiqur Rehman, a two-time winner, had been the late Farid Khan’s main opponent in the May 11 poll. It should not be forgotten that Hangu is part of the area where the military is operating against militants. It is also close to the tribal areas, something shown by the fact that Farid Khan belonged originally to the Orakzai Agency, though living in Hangu for many years.The assassination should indicate to the new KP government that law and order is far from a bed of roses. Though the loss of a single MPA does not even change the dynamic of the ruling coalition, let alone change the party position in the KP Assembly, the government cannot afford to let government MPAs be assassinated at will. The federal government should not see this as the killing of an opposition MPA, but an indication of the kind of problems faced in KP. That KP government must act accordingly. These problems are caused by the USA’s continued occupation of Afghanistan. Both federal and KP governments have been elected on platforms which include the upholding of national sovereignty, in this case by ending both drone attacks and militancy.That both governments need to cooperate not just to bring the killers to justice, but also give them exemplary punishment, is a given. However, they also need to devise ways and means to reduce the kind of militancy, the kind of readiness to have recourse to violence, which led to this assassination. The killing of an MPA in this fashion indicates a disturbing lack of confidence in other dispute resolution mechanisms. As much as any drone attack, this outrage represents a challenge to the writ of the state.